During the Second Empire, Louis XV's château at Compiègne underwent a drastic renovation at the hands of Napoleon III and his bride Eugénie, who took up the château as an autumn residence in 1856. Though many of the apartments and salons remained intact, a number of eclectic decorations were acquired by the Mobilier de la Couronne at their request, including an armoire serre-bijoux acquired directly from the porcelain painter Moritz-Meyer of Dresden in 1859 and later installed in the château's Salon de l'appartement in 1862.
Interestingly, it was speculated that a nearly identical cabinet sold at Sotheby's, London, 8 November 1994, lot 607 was a companion piece to the cabinet acquired for Compiègne, though the discovery of third cabinet, sold Christie's, New York, 20 October 2009, lot 88 ($122,500) and now the present example would suggest otherwise. The present cabinet is similarly-mounted overall, though lacks the circular portrait plaque of Louis Philippe so prominently displayed in the interior of the previously-cited examples. An engraving of another cabinet, said to be decorated with vernis Martin panels is illustrated in Dictionnaire de l'ameublement et de la décoration depui le XIIIième siècle jusqu'à nos jours, Vol. IV, Paris, 1890, p. 1652.
This cabinet perpetuates an established tradition of finely-mounted porcelain furnishings which gained popularity during the third quarter of the 19th century. William Oppenheim, an agent for the Meissen Porcelain Factory, exhibited an acclaimed example of an ebonised cabinet à deux corps profusely mounted with porcelain plaques at the 1878 Exposition Universelle, an engraving for which appeared in the Art Journal of the same year. Not only did the journal deem the piece 'a very meritorious cabinet, largely decorated by admirable paintings on porcelain', but praised it further as a tour de force for the renowned porcelain workshop. Another example of Oppenheim's celebrated cabinet with a later painted gold carcass was sold at Christie's New York, Maria Félix: La Dona, 17-18 July 2007, lot 539 ($312,000).